• Cosette Grider

Can't Art. Only Pain.

It doesn't make sense to blog at this time. The Canvas Confessional is meant to be an art blog and the goal was to post one blog a week. I usually do these on a Sunday. Last Sunday, I didn't feel feel inspired to write about anything. Not wanting to force it, I decided to do my blog on Monday, October 21 sometime after work. New fresh week, having felt excited about a little progress on the painting the weekend that just past, I would have a little more inspiration to blog about something worthwhile.

Monday, October 21turned into the worst day of my life.

At 11:30am, sitting at my desk working on CADs for the retail chain, Ross, my mother called me sobbing her eyes out. Through her sobs and every other discernible word, my heart rate started increasing. My cousin....my dear sweet beautiful cousin, sister, best friend, concert buddy, Antoinette collapsed at home, heart stopped and they are desperately trying to rescusicate her at the hospital. As horrible as all those words in that sentence were, after I hung up and realized that I have to get down to Murrieta to the hospital to be with her, I still had hope. It wouldn't make any sense for Antoinette to die. There is no way that would happen. She is a beautiful, charismatic, loving, mother of 3 kids (ages 2, 7, and 12) and she was mine and Tamar's best friend. We grew up as close as can be for 36 years. I'm not used to tragedy nor am I used to death. I only hear about them. Besides having an aunt committing suicide in 1990 when I was 9 years old, the people in my family that sadly passed away were aunts and uncles of cancer and grandparents in their 90's of old age. I texted my cousin/Antoinettes brother, Avo immediately after my mom's call.


Having read that awful message at my desk at work, I had the most visceral reaction. I have never reacted to news of a death like that before. I made sounds I hadn't ever made before. Feelings in my body I had never felt before. My brain was unclear. My stomach twisted. My heart broken. My fists punching my things repeatedly. How can this be? It's been 7 days now and I still am in shock. The grief overwhelms me. I don't know what to do with the grief when it comes on suddenly out of nowhere filling the inside of my body with burning pain. I have learned to "feel" things a little bit better. Meaning, I have learned to welcome pain, sit with it for a bit, and accept how uncomfortable it is. I don't know how.....maybe it came from years of practice from intense strength training, uncomfortable yoga poses, excruciating period cramps, and a slipped L4 disc in my lower back. Those pains I'm used to and I'm ok with sitting with them. Emotional pain, I am also ok sitting with but I tell you.....and its likely you have had someone very close to you suddenly pass so maybe you know what I'm talking about....but THIS pain is emotional, mental, AND physical. Paul and a few of my best friends and work homies have been a huge support for me.

Life can be too cruel.

CONFESSION: Understandably, I know, I have zero motivation to paint or create any content for my Canvas Confessional social media feeds. I'm giving it whatever amount of time I need until I feel ready again. I know I won't abandon it completely and I do have a commissioned acrylic painting due in December, but I am too consumed by the death of Antoinette right now.

Whatever artistic energy I did have this past week and still have, I put it into sketching out a matching tattoo for Tamar and I, memorializing Antoinette. Our appointments are set for December 8, and having sketched out this tattoo for us felt peaceful and cathartic. Without having told Tamar, who is suffering as hard as I am, I sketched out my idea on paper at work. Pleased by my idea and sketch, I texted Tamar telling her I couldn't wait to show her my idea. She replied "great! I have a few ideas too." I realized I was foolish and selfish to assume right away that MY idea would be THE one to use. I felt so confident with the idea and sketch that I lost sight and consideration for what she might want. We went out to Sharkey's for dinner that night and then ice cream with the kids afterward. I had my sketch in my tote bag. Nervous, I asked her what her idea was. She says "I was thinking three girls holding hands and one of the girls has angel wings."

Thirty-six years of an unbreakable bond.

Tamar and I have always joked that we share the same brain. No one can ever know me the way she does. We feel the same things and are in tune to the same things. We call each other up and usually the recipient of the call will say "oh my God, I was JUST literally about to call you!" Chilled by goosebumps after her idea, I pulled out my sketch. Now.....I wish I was socially ready to share it with you on this blog but I'm not. Not yet. Let's just say, she was also filled with goosebumps and silence, mouth agape. We sat there staring at each other for a minute in disbelief. I had sketched her idea. OUR idea.

The day Antoinette died. Tamar and I cuddling 7 year old Hannah, Antoinette's daughter.

This week, Tamar and I are preparing a eulogy for Antoinette. The services are next Monday, November 4 at Rose Hills in Whittier. I started writing the eulogy in my head yesterday while driving to work. When I reached my desk, I scribbled it all down in my notebook. We are also creating 3 trifold poster boards filled with photos of her as a child, her with us in our 36 years together, and her life with her husband and three beautiful children. I'm also compiling hundreds and hundreds of photos and videos and a playlist that I have been creating for Paul to create a magnificent slideshow for the memorial lunch reception. It's going to be stunning, as she deserved nothing less.

Those are the things I am putting any artistic energy into. I could never have imagined a week like this and working on projects (for lack of a better word) like these but these are the only to-do priorities I care about right now. Not carving a pumpkin for my son. Not taking him around trick or treating though I could never miss that. Not laundry or dishes or even meditation.

Thank you for reading this. I have very low expectations of the volume of readers, so if anything...I just did this for myself.

My best friend and sister. I'm shattered.

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